Free Farm Woodland Assessments offered

Planted trees
Scottish Rural Network

A limited number of free Farm Woodland Assessments are being offered across the Central Scotland Green Network area.

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Trust are offering the assessments on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland to help farms and estates identify opportunities for new and existing woodland to support their farm businesses.

North Ayrshire farmer Andy McIntyre is urging other farmers and landowners to consider how their land might benefit from increased woodland and tree planting after his Forestry Grant Scheme application to plant 27 hectares of native woodland on his farm was approved.

The Forestry Grant Scheme, which is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), offers farmers funding opportunities to plant new or manage existing woodlands.

Farmers and landowners could receive grants of up to £8,710 per hectare towards the costs of new woodland planting which includes a special CSGN additional contribution of up to £2,500 per hectare. The CSGN area covers Ayrshire, the Central Belt and extends across to East Lothian up into West Fife and parts of Stirling.

Andy owns Middleton Farm and has been awarded a contract through the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) to plant 27 hectares of native broadleaves trees. The total grant of £ 243,000 includes money for planting trees and capital items such as fencing, plus the additional CSGN contribution of £2,500 per hectare. Andy applied for the grant in October 2015 and was awarded the contract in December 2015.

Andy said:

"We’re making use of unproductive ground to plant trees, with the intention of producing timber to fuel a biomass log burning stove.

"Planting is already underway, with weed control having already been carried out and deer fencing installed, in preparation.

"I have already recommended tree planting to several other farmers as a way to generate a return on areas of land that are of low quality grazing and, in fact I am sharing fencing for my woodlands with a neighbouring farmer, who is also planting trees. I would urge others to consider if their land could benefit from woodland."

The FGS is open to applications all year round, providing flexibility and helping farmers avoid any requirement to complete an application during busy harvesting, calving or lambing periods. 

Virginia Harden Scott, Woodland Creation Development Officer at Central Scotland Green Network Trust says that the period leading up to submission of the Single Application Form is an opportune time of year to think about your whole farm business, and, to identify how new woodland planting could help diversify your agricultural business and spread business risks related to current uncertainties surrounding future agricultural support.  By taking up the offer of a free farm woodland assessment we can help you do just that.

Virginia said:

"Farming with trees can generate many benefits to farms. Well-designed woodland can provide valuable shelter for stock, improving feed conversion rates; infiltrate water run-off to reduce diffuse pollution; increase biodiversity on the farm and help to address climate change. By planting new woodland, you are also growing a future timber resource, which can produce a new income stream in the long term as well as supplies of low cost woodfuel."

To express your interest in a free farm woodland assessment, by Friday 13 January 2017, or for further information on the assessments contact Virginia Harden Scott at or on 01501 824 197.